Updated: Feb 06, 2016 12:09 pm Eastern Standard Time (GMT -05:00)
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Saturday, Feb 06, 2016 Happy Waitangi Day (New Zealand)

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Planar Conquest Announced

Wastelands Interactive announces Planar Conquest, a turn-based strategy game that re-imagines and expands upon Worlds of Magic, a Windows 4X strategy game released last year following a successful Kickstart. Owners of the original game should be pleased to learn that this will be offered to them for free when it launches for Windows, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4 in the second half of this year, while a mobile version for iOS is already available on the App Store. You can have a look at the mobile version in this launch trailer, and here's more of the plan:

Today Wastelands Interactive announced that its new project – a turn-based strategy game titled Planar Conquest – will launch on PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4 in the second quarter of 2016. Planar Conquest is a reimagined and immensely enhanced version of Worlds of Magic – a Kickstarter-funded 4X game that was released last year on PC.

“We know that Worlds of Magic had lots of issues – admits CEO Leszek Lisowski. – We fixed many of them in subsequent updates, but we’ve eventually realized that if we want to unleash the full potential of our 4X project, we need to overhaul it and relaunch it. That’s how Planar Conquest was born. The game will not only feature new UI, enhanced AI and revamped graphics, but also will be expanded with cross-platform multiplayer, intuitive map editor, and more. Best of all, Planar Conquest will be free to everyone who already owns Worlds of Magic .”

Continue here to read the full story.

Black Ops III Weapon XP Bonus

A Call of Duty tweet informs everyone a double weapon experience weekend is now underway to help you train your guns to shoot better in Call of Duty: Black Ops III. The accompanying graphic indicates this should continue until Monday at 1:00 pm EST. Word is: "#2WeaponXP Weekend is back. Which weapon will you be maxing out?" Thanks GameSpot.

Saturday Crowdfunding Roundup

Gatherings & Competitions

Saturday Interviews

Saturday Previews

Saturday Mobilization

Saturday Metaverse

Saturday Tech Bits

Saturday Safety Dance

Saturday Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews


Out of the Blue

Apologies for the repeat R.I.P. last night, though in fairness, Lux Interior is indeed still dead. As nin correctly called it, I "Facebooked" myself. And you. Sorry about that.

Repeated Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Arc of Templar.
Block Bot.
Story: "MacGyver" Feature Film Reboot Coming.
Media: XCOM 2 Blast HamCleaver (NSFW).
Scat The Cat Goes Fishing.
How To Crack An Electronic Safe With A Magnet And A Sock.

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Friday, Feb 05, 2016

Shadowrun: Hong Kong Extended Edition Launches

Harebrained Schemes now offers Shadowrun: Hong Kong Extended Edition, an updated version of Shadowrun: Hong Kong that adds improvements and an audio commentary to the tactical RPG sequel along with a new Shadows of Hong Kong campaign. This is free if you already own Shadowrun: Hong Kong, and for all others, it's currently on sale for 50% off the original price, a Deluxe version is also available with the original soundtrack and the Art of Shadowrun: Hong Kong PDF book, and there's a Shadowrun Triple Pack that includes this and the rest of the series that's also currently on sale. The Shadowrun: Hong Kong website has a new trailer, and here's more on the release:

Today, indie game developer Harebrained Schemes released Shadowrun: Hong Kong - Extended Edition as a FREE upgrade to all existing owners of Shadowrun: Hong Kong. This Extended Edition is the definitive version of Shadowrun: Hong Kong, the third standalone game in the critically acclaimed Shadowrun RPG series that takes fantasy and mashes it with cyberpunk for an enthralling gameplay experience.

Shadowrun: Hong Kong - Extended Edition adds the all-new, 6+ hour Shadows of Hong Kong Bonus Campaign to the game - delivering on a funding goal achieved by fans in Harebrained Schemes’ wildly successful Shadowrun: Hong Kong Kickstarter. The Extended Edition also adds audio commentary to the game and a long list of improvements since the game’s initial launch - including new visual effects, updated dialogue, and editor features (for User-Generated Content).

Continue here to read the full story.

Dota 2 Battle Pass Adds Bonus Quest

The Dota 2 blog announces the addition of a bonus quest to the recently released 2016 Battle Pass for Dota 2, Valve's MOBA. This is accompanied by a balance update. Here's word:

To celebrate New Bloom this year, a bonus Quest has been added to the Winter 2016 Battle Pass. Earn up to 7 Crimson Parcels by completing the Path of the Blossom, and open them to see what gifts await inside. By completing the final Quest in this path, you will unlock a new exclusive set for Ember Spirit. The Path of the Blossom is available for a limited time from February 5th to February 15th.

There have already been 2,500,000 quests completed along the Path of the Executioner. An alternate style of the Legacy of the Eldwurm Crest set for Dragon Knight is now available for anyone who completes the Path of the Executioner.

Also included in this update is a minor balance fix, click here to read the patch notes.

Steam Lunar New Year Sale

The Steam Lunar New Year Sale is underway. Thousands of games on sale between now and February 12th and a monkey-themed branching adventure theme. Word is:

It is Lunar New Year once again, a time to travel home and reunite with the family. You are far away from your home town of Monkey City, and many obstacles and choices lie on the path ahead. Are you ready to start your journey home?

Evening Patches

On Sale

Evening Crowdfunding Roundup

Evening Interviews

Gatherings & Competitions

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Evening Metaverse

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Safety Dance

etc., etc.

Into the Black

R.I.P.: Lux Interior dies at 60; founder, front man of punk band the Cramps. I almost made a Cramps reference just the other day. :(

H1Z1 Becomes Two Games

Daybreak Games announces that H1Z1 is being split into two separate games, rather than being a single zombie survival game as originally planned. What was the core of the original planned game is now an open-world survival game called H1Z1: Just Survive, while some of the competitive elements will now be part of H1Z1: King of the Kill, a "fight-to-the-death shooter where every second counts." This post has details on the plan, including word that both games are being offered for one price in early access, and that early access to each will begin on February 17th. Here's the plan:

Daybreak Game Company LLC today announced the upcoming separation of the Early Access survival game H1Z1® into two independent games. H1Z1: King of the Kill™ is a large-scale, high-intensity multiplayer shooter comprised of a variety of new fight-to-the-death game modes, including fan-favorite PLAYERUNKNOWN’s Battle Royale. King of the Kill will come out of Early Access and launch this summer on consoles and PC. H1Z1, in turn, will now be called H1Z1: Just Survive™, and will refine its focus on delivering a persistent, post-apocalyptic, open-world zombie experience where scavenging, crafting and base-building are the difference between life and death.

On Feb. 17, 2016, both H1Z1: Just Survive and H1Z1: King of the Kill will be available on PC through Steam Early Access for $19.99 USD each. All players who currently own or purchase H1Z1 on or before Feb. 16 will be granted both games upon the separation.

“Since its release last year on Steam Early Access, we’ve had more than 2.5 million downloads of H1Z1 and rank as the number four top selling game on Steam of 2015 releases,” said Laura Naviaux, Chief Publishing Officer of Daybreak Games. “We launched H1Z1 as an Early Access title to allow the player community to help shape our development. Over the course of development, we discovered it had evolved into two unique gaming experiences, appealing to two distinct communities. Fostering lasting communities is the bedrock of our organization, and by allowing these worlds to exist independently and grow in their own distinguished ways, we can better deliver on a consistent vision and clear roadmap for each game toward official release and beyond.”

Both Just Survive and King of the Kill will continue to progress in Steam Early Access under the umbrella of the H1Z1 universe, but will be developed with independent milestones by dedicated teams within Daybreak Games. King of the Kill will come out of Early Access and launch simultaneously on PC, the PlayStation®4 computer entertainment system and Xbox One this summer. Just Survive will remain in Early Access through the end of the year.

XCOM 2 Invades

2K Games announces the release of XCOM 2 for Windows, OS X, and Linux, the highly anticipated sequel to the UFO infested strategy reboot. A launch trailer comes with the announcement, which offers all the details:

2K and Firaxis Games announced today that XCOM® 2, the sequel to the Game of the Year* award-winning strategy title, is now available worldwide for Windows-based PC, as well as Mac and Linux via Feral Interactive. XCOM 2 already has critics raving with IGN awarding it a 9.3 out of 10 and saying, “XCOM 2 is an amazing game”, along with PC Gamer writing, “We’ll play this forever,” and awarding it a 94% out of 100%. Game Informer Magazine also wrote that XCOM 2 is “one of the deepest and most rewarding strategy games on the market” and awarded it a 9.5 out of 10.

“Firaxis is taking the XCOM franchise to a whole new level with XCOM 2’s epic story and replayability factor, making it the most thrilling game in the series,” said Christoph Hartmann, president of 2K. “XCOM 2 is a worthy successor to the award-winning XCOM: Enemy Unknown, and is already receiving outstanding reviews from critics.”

In XCOM 2, humanity lost the war against the alien threat that has established a new world order on Earth. XCOM, formerly a secret paramilitary organization, is largely forgotten and must strike back from the shadows to reclaim Earth from the aliens’ rule and free mankind from their evil plans.

“The XCOM 2 team strived to create a sequel to XCOM: Enemy Unknown that gamers would love and want play over and over again,” said Jake Solomon, creative director of XCOM 2 at Firaxis Games. “Adding in features that set it apart from previous XCOM games was important to us, like a unique new narrative, more varied and powerful aliens, procedurally-generated levels and modding support. The team is hugely appreciative and humbled by the positive response so far, and we hope that strategy and sci-fi fans will enjoy the game as much as we enjoyed making it.”

Continue here to read the full story.

The Political Machine 2016 Released

This forum post announces the promised release of The Political Machine 2016, the new installment in this simulation of how the sausage gets made during a U.S. presidential election. The Windows game is offered through Steam, and there's a 50% discount for anyone who already owns The Political Machine 2012. Here are some details from the official announcement:

Take to the campaign trail today with Stardock's The Political Machine 2016. Give speeches, go on talk shows, hire unsavory operatives, and do whatever it takes to win the presidency in this popular political strategy game.

The Political Machine 2016 offers the player a choice to play as one of over a dozen candidates such as Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, and more. The player can also choose to create their own custom candidate, complete with their own unique avatar, political party, and hometown.

"The game deals with topics like the Keystone XL Pipeline, human trafficking, and other issues that are current and relevant to this year’s election", said producer Patrick Shaw. "We’ve added a poll tracking feature so that you can see how your own political races are matching up to what’s going on in the United States right now."

The game also features opportunities for the candidates to interview on various talk shows to raise their ratings in the polls. Torrid affairs, natural disasters, email scandals, and other random events keep players on their toes and ready to deal with unexpected problems. By purchasing advertisements that appeal to the issues of each individual state, and hiring operatives to bring down your opponent or make you look good, players will find many different strategies for how to take down their opposition and become the President of the United States.

TrackMania Turbo Next Month

Ubisoft announces "TrackMania Turbo starts engines when lights turn green on March 22," which is another way of saying that is when to expect the new installment in Nadeo's time-trial racing series for Windows, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4. A new trailer illustrates the news with a look at the game. which continues the franchise's mix the realistic and the impossible. There are more details on the Trackmania Turbo website, and here's the main thrust of the announcement:

TrackMania Turbo features an easy to learn, difficult to master arcade racing universe with time attack gameplay where players set their own limits and challenges. The game revolves around an exhilarating combination of matchbox car fantasy and massive scale, focused on the pursuit of the perfect run around the track.

Using the Trackbuilder tool, players can build an infinite number of tracks to train and challenge their skills. TrackMania Turbo also includes more than 200 head-spinning tracks set in four beautiful environments, each with their own driving style: Rollercoaster Lagoon, International Stadium, Canyon Grand Drift and Valley Down & Dirty.

The brand-new Rollercoaster Lagoon is set in a tropical paradise, where drivers must race through sunny beaches and magnetic rollercoasters. The fan favorite International Stadium is back, along with the Canyon Grand Drift and Valley Down & Dirty environments, all reworked with updated graphics, gameplay, dedicated new car designs and a new artistic direction, creating a visual identity that immerses gamers in the arcade racing experience more than ever.

Continue here to read the full story.

PES 2016 Free-to-Play Edition

A Pro Evolution Soccer 2016 myClub edition is now available on Steam as a free-to-play "entry level" edition of the association football/soccer simulation. This offers a gratis subset of the game, and here's the explanation of what this does and does not include:

​Those who haven’t experienced PES 2016 ​can now download a free, entry level version of the game​,​ which boasts an Exhibition Mode complete with the choice of seven teams including Bayern Munich, Juventus, AS Roma, Brazil and France. Also included is a full training section and the hugely popular myClub feature. The free-to-play game also allows users to experience PES 2016’s online play, offline play and unlimited access to the myClub mode wherein players can use accrued in-game currency and micro-transactions to build a title-winning team.

myClub offers an incredible level of depth to PES 2016 and allows players to build a team of world stars. The myClub option has been massively improved since its launch, with player level systems and key players exclusive to the mode. Players can use points acquired through success in matches or with myClub coins to experience realistic club management to develop a squad. The myClub rosters and stats are also updated on a weekly basis. More competitions, events and campaigns are constantly added with players choosing their manager, recruiting coaches, developing playing styles and building a long-term strategy based on their specific aims.

Morning Patches

Gatherings & Competitions

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Metaverse

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Safety Dance

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews


Out of the Blue

This morning I am appreciating the groundhog's prediction a lot more than I did when he made it. I joked at the time that the weather here has been too mild all winter to worry about an early spring, and now there are several inches of snow on the ground mocking me for my arrogance. Mock, you ask? You don't think snow mocks? I assure you he does... He tasks me. He tasks me and I shall have him!

R.I.P.: Earth, Wind & Fire soul band founder Maurice White dies.
R.I.P.: BMX legend Dave Mirra dies, aged just 41.

Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Royal Warfare 2.
Tomb Runner.
Links: Puppy Bowl Details.
Lego Pop-Up House construction.
Stories: The Coen Brothers Finally Address That One 'Big Lebowski' Theory.
Inside Peyton Manning’s secret investigation into Al Jazeera documentary.
Missing cat found in Nottinghamshire pet food warehouse.
Science: NASA is quietly planning for a disastrous asteroid strike. Thanks HARDOCP.
Scientists have discovered what causes Resting Bitch Face. I think I suffer.
Space experts warn Congress that NASA’s “Journey to Mars” is illusory.
Media: PAWA MD-80 St Maarten Landing Approach. Wow.
When Garbage Trucks Explode. That'll buff out.
Follow-up: A-10 to fly until 2022 as DOD test chief warns against F-35 “block buy.”

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